By Ethan Kibbe
NORTH EAST, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Evan Kaizer could barely contain his excitement Monday as he dropped his buck off to be processed.
“I’m super excited,” the 12-year-old said. “I was shaking in the stand. I don’t remember any of it because I was so excited.”
Dozens of other hunters shared Kaizer’s early success.
Processor Tadd Burch already has more than 200 deer at his facility in North East, and he expects more than 500 by the end of the season.
“It was busy,” he said of the weekend. “A lot of people took advantage of the weather and were out, and we had a lot of deer on Saturday, and we anticipate a really good season.”
That’s good news for the veteran businessman.
More customers mean more income in a year where costs keep rising while available labor disappears.
“It’s difficult,” he said. “To keep doing this, you have to be dedicated, because it’s a lot of work to cut up a large number of deer. You have to be willing to stay here and do it, put in 12 or 16 hours a day. It’s tough to find people that want to do that.”
Burch isn’t the only one feeling the financial pinch.
Hunters are too, with some determined to fill their freezers before winter.
“I’ve had guys come in and they want to get a deer so they don’t have to pay for the price of beef in the grocery store,” Burch said.
A strong start to the season; something hunters and processors alike hope is a sign of things to come.
Because of inflation, Burch raised his rates slightly this year so he can afford to hire help.
Still, he asks customers to realize that he has a small crew and properly butchering a deer takes time, so if you get a deer this year, be patient.